The M. E. Golder Research Center > Trailblazing The Apostolic Faith


 Trailblazing The Apostolic Faith

As Pentecostal historian, Dr. Larry Martin stated, "The 20th Century Pentecostal Movement in America was born on January 1, 1901 in Topeka, Kansas. For several months the fledging faith slept like a babe in a crib.

Kansas City, Missouri

It took a couple of years of crawling around before the Apostolic Faith Movement began to stand up on its feet with national recognition. However, on January 21st, 1901, just three weeks after Agnes Ozman became the first to be baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues at the Topeka Outpouring, Charles Parham took a small band of seven workers, and went to Kansas City. There, he hoped it would be the first place on a tour across the United States, and Canada, to carry the new Pentecostal message as he personally coined it. 

For about two weeks, meetings were held in a small storefront building, at the Academy of Music at 1675, Madison Avenue, so that larger numbers of people could be accomodated. The result of this venture was rather minimal, with some response being reported. The missionary tour was quickly cancelled as a result of the disappointing response in Kansas City, thus they returned to Topeka.

Lawrence, Kansas

In the middle part of February, 1901 Parham took twenty of his Bethel Bible School students with him to nearby Lawrence, to conduct his Apostolic Faith meetings. The remaining student body of the school remained in Topeka, to intercede for the revival. Each night in the Music Hall, meetings were conducted. During the daytime, the students did door-to-door witnessing.

While there were a few who were converted to Jesus Christ, with some testimonies of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the results were far from overwhelming, and to little avail. Therefore, Parham's group returned to Topeka, and continued the curriculum of the Bible School on through the spring months.

Sarah Parham stated, "The people seemed slow to accept the truth. Some declared it was not the power of God, which enabled us to speak in tongues". Charles Parham wrote concerning his disappointments, "Through great trials, and persecution in Kansas City, at which time I wrote the first book published by any Full Gospel people entitled, A Voice Crying In The Wilderness, in which was set forth what is now being taught in different movements throughout the world. Both the pulpit, and the press sought to utterly destroy our place, and prestige, until my wife, her sister, and myself, seemed to be standing all alone; Hated, despised, and counted as naught, for weeks and weeks, never knowing where our next meal was coming from, yet feeling that we must maintain 'the faith once delivered to the saints'. When we had car-fare, we rode, when we did not, we walked. We entered every open door, but did not try to force doors open. When buildings were closed to us, we preached on the streets."  

Sarah Parham wrote, "We continued the fight until the spring of 1903, when a lady minister, who was brought into the faith when we had held a meeting in Lawrence in 1901, invited brother Parham to hold a meeting in a mission she had established in Nevada, Missouri. Here, the Lord blessed us, and we learned some needful lessons, as we saw some fleshly manifestations, and giving out of messages we had not witnessed before. Here, brother Parham carefully tested these things. The Word tell us to 'try the spirits' and 'prove all things'. If we had not done so, brother Parham would not afterwards have known how to rebuke fanaticism, when it was manifest in such force and power."

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